They came to a place called Gethsemane; and Jesus, saying to his disciples ‘wait here for me’ went into the garden alone to pray. -- Mark 14, Fragment, from memory.
I know the look on my own face, and I know Dean can see it reflected in the rear view mirror, and I know he is watching, because Dean is always watching me. And, yeah, dark, not that that’s anything new.
“How dark Sammy?” We are barely home and Dean is turning on me, not asking for answers, demanding answers. “Huh Sammy?” He pauses, jaw clenching and unclenching like I’ve seen hundreds of times before, when I’ve fucked up, done something wrong, like oh say, pulling the trigger on a gun pointed at Dean’s head, or starting the apocalypse. “What you do? Demon blood again?” There is a bitter twist to his lips: “Or don’t you need the blood Sam? Tortured a few demons, didn't you Sammy? Sent poor Lester to hell.” Dean is walking away from me: “Who else did you hurt Sam.” It’s not even a question this time.
Dean turns his back on me, leaving me gaping, leaving me unsure what he needs to hear to make this right.
“Dean.” Its a whisper, but I still turn to him. Sam opens his mouth to answer, looking down, avoiding this, but still ends up looking up like he did when he was just a kid with bangs. My face twists out a little smile, Sammy from years ago, from Stanford, before losing Jess, before killing Azazel, from before avenging me, before Ruby, before lying to me every damn day, before Demon Blood, Lilith, Lucifer, before the cage, before he fucking lost his soul, from before saving me from hell--not that that worked--Sammy. Sam from before all this cold blooded quest to save me from myself.
“You know what? don’t bother to tell me, I know every damn thing you did, Sam.”
Sam from before Cold Oak.
Sam shakes his head, “I had to.” Even when his face is hard, jaw locked, Sam still looks like a damn labrador who needs dinner...a sad, tired, kicked, vicious labrador. He opens his mouth as though anything he is going to say can explain what he did: “You’re my brother.”
Dean just goes on, a sneer taking over his face from the anger: “Not just demons Sammy was it?” He turns away from me, sitting himself on the edge of a desk, pouring himself a whiskey, a good whisky, one hand finding a grip on the edge the other swirling the glass as he looks into it. Like he can tell the future from a glass of whiskey, even Dean usually needs a bottle. He looks over his shoulder at me, a tired, disappointed look: “Hunters.” He’d asked me that befores, this time it’s a statement. “You really think I wasn’t watching you?”
Where the hell does he get off telling me to let him go, and then stalking me.
“May have punched a few? You think for a moment I don’t know what you did to them? That you...” Dean slaps the table with his free hand, takes another generous sip on his whiskey.
You murdered them - Dean doesn’t have to say it, we both know.
“So I lied.” Sam blurts it out, as though all he did was steal candy. This was more than a lie, Sammy you killed humans, hunters, people. I find myself nodding at him over my shoulder. When he said he’d do anything for me -- You’re my big brother and I would do anything for you -- neither of us knew yet what anything was.
When I had said I’d do anything to save Sam I didn’t know what anything was either.
“Don’t start on it Sam, there was another way, you could have left me be.” Let me go. That was all I asked, it wouldn’t have been that hard Sam, its not like you haven't done it before.
Dean swirls the whiskey again, looking up and away, runs his free hand over his face, “Or you could have finished me yourself.”
He starts harsh and finishes softly, he knows I wouldn't do it, won’t, can’t. I didn’t do it.
“Fuck you, Dean.”
Dean knows I would have let him do it when it came down to him or me, knows he would have done it. We are a long way from the first night he saved me - when Dad put me in his arms - and I ruined his life. He’s had enough chances, he could have left me be at Cold Oak, now he knows what its like to have demon blood - to be that thing - maybe he would have done the right thing and left me like I belonged, belong. Every fucking chance he’s had, he’s seen me for what I am, called me a monster, freak, said he should hunt me - he should have - he knows what I’ve done and we’re standing in our home having this conversation.
Whiskey has never done me any favours. Life doesn’t exactly do Winchesters favours.
Dean lets out a breath into his whisky, quirks his mouth, looks at the parque floor under his feet, legs crossed at his ankles, boots still dirty from the hunt.
God, Sammy, we’ve come so far, we could have escaped this thing. Every time we could have done it I couldn’t leave you be. Cold Oak I couldn’t, I brought you back. Before you freed lucifer, maybe I should have, I couldn't finish it Sam. No matter what Dad said, I couldn’t. I started this thing, I brought you back when you could have been at peace, every time. The trials, I couldn't let you go. So close to fucking free, and I took it from you.
Maybe Cas was right Sam, could have been kinder to just kill you outright. Maybe Meg didn’t know me as well as she thought. Maybe I’ve changed.
When I was that, him, me, DemonDean - sounds so fucking right - I could have let you go Sam, helped you go, done what you begged me for, what I promised you. Has it always felt like that for you Sam? Demon Blood driving you to these things, you held back with me - demon blood, soulless, anything - sure it may have been close, but you held back against it - except that damn ghost, you had to be possessed Sam to finish this - you can’t.
Dean tips his glass and looks down at his arm.
“Forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Book of Common Prayer, fragment,from Memory
Dean studies the thing on his arm, and I’ve driven him to it, I’ve never let go, never been able to let go of Dean. Every chance he’s had he’s saved me, from Lucifer, death, myself - and that mark is what he gets. Every chance I’ve had I’ve come back to him, from that night- that night-at Stanford, the night I as good as killed Jess because I just had to go with Dean, from Burkittsville and the scarecrow- I could have headed to California and not involved Dean in my life - I could have taken my shit and gone back to Amelia and Riot, had a normal life like he said he wanted for me, but I couldn’t, can’t.
Dean wouldn’t be looking at that mark now, whiskey in hand, boots crossed at the ankle, looking for all the world as though he isn't one of the damned, if I had had the courage to do what needed to be done at that inn with those creepy damn dolls - everywhere we go is so fucking creepy - if I finished it when Dean was in hell - gone to be with him in hell, it would have been better journey to hell than this. If Dean had just left me in Lucifer's cage. If I had stayed away from him, stayed with Jess in my fucked up head, stayed dead to Dean in Bobby’s panic room, but I had to come back to him. If I had done what I meant to do when Dean was in purgatory we would never have been standing here. I should have finished the trials, closed the gates of hell before I was afraid I would be closing my brother in. Its not like I’d never gone against him before. I could have said no, and just stayed in heaven, and we wouldn’t be standing here. ‘There ain’t no me, if there ain’t no you’ and here we both are. If I had really known for a moment that I could leave him be, that he would better off without me, that I would be better off without him, that maybe he needed to be without me--if that hadn’t been a lie--it wouldn’t have come to tonite.
Dean asked, demon-dean asked, which of us is the real monster - we've both always known answer. One hundred and eighty years in the cage and most way through the trials and I’m still this - Dean’s monster. Michael and Lucifer, Cain and Abel, Dean and Sam. He said if I can't save you, then I'd have to kill you Sammy.
Sam’s been standing frozen, fingers fidgeting a little, mouth twitch a little, forehead finally smoothing out. Whatever decision he needed to make has been taken.
The only way to finish this is to let Dean go, he knew it, and I couldn't. For whatever reason it comes down to here and now. “Dad…” I know where I’m going with that and so does Dean, and he can’t tell me he hasn’t thought it. Dean can’t tell me he doesn’t remember what he promised me - what I begged him for - because I was too weak to do it myself. Maybe I’ve never become something other than what’s really me.
“Come ‘ere Sammy.”
I expect something else from Dean, him to tell me to go, to tell me that I’m not welcome. Given what I’ll ask of him tonight it would be easier for him if I just went, if we never put an end to this, found another way to put an end to this. But I come over to him anyhow, sit next to him, my good hand gripping on the desk, shoulder to shoulder, echoing him.
“Sam?” he looks at me and swallows what he was going to say, looks away and tries again. “Sam, we” he takes a breath, looks into his whisky and then up at the ceiling, “We could…” Dean trails off, “Could we, you know…”
I know. I find his free hand is clenched to the edge of the desk, and cover it with mine.
Sammy and me have only done this twice before - both those times it just happened. Christmas of the year I went to hell, too much to drink and too much fear of hell and fear of being alone, and we just fell into it. The other time the night before Sammy jumped into the pit, holding him and trying not to cry, and Sam being fucking stupidly brave, turned into him kissing me - we’ve never been good with words - into us kissing, into this thing that we don’t do. But I asked for it tonight. Sam brought me back, made me nearly human again, and he deserves to know I’m grateful, and that its taken a long time but I do understand.
Its uncomfortable, Dean and I don’t know to be together like this any more than we know how to be apart.
Sam’s arm is awkward as we undress ourselves, trying not to look. Sam from after he went to hell is gone, his body never recovered from the trials, he is still too thin, and that arm, as much as I give him shit about it, looks painful, limp and twisted in a way that isn’t just a sprain. But lying is kinda our thing, and that seems kinda minor in the face of what we are about to do.
Dean is as uncomfortable as I am. We had just done this before, fallen into it, made love in a way that I've never been able to find with someone else, never been able to give myself, and it's not just because its Dean, and because he’s my brother, its not just because he’s my only family, its because its us, all in, and nothing else,
I sit down to wrestle with my brace and shirt and Dean steps in, helping me again. Always helping me again. Always saving me again. I don’t think he’ll really forgive me this time. He slips the brace off, sets the blade I am still carrying beside his bed, undoes the buttons on my shirt, sliding it off, sliding my jeans off, looking at me critically—not like I failed something, more like he just wants to understand me, and looking really hard will do that better than listening,
I set my colt aside and push Sam back on my bed - us both naked - straddling him, my knees beside this hips. The grey blanket is rough on my knees and must be hell on his back but he doesn’t complain, this once, Sam doesn’t complain. Sam usually doesn’t complain, just goes out and does stupid stuff. I want to kiss him, but wait, resting my forehead against his, hands beside his arms. My mouth is too dry to say what I want to say: ‘Sammy.’
There is truth in a body, and that’s all the truth I can give Dean. I doubt whether my soul is in much demand, Crowley would send it back - Winchester, not to be trusted - and Cas is the only one in heaven who would want it, and I don’t think heaven will keep Cas long.
Dean lifts a hand and runs a flat palm - solid, calloused - over my throat, neck, studded nipples, along my ribs, over the protruding bone of my hips. He takes me in a sweat sticky hand - and we’ve never done this slowly before, never done it thoughtfully before, never as gently as his hand engulfs me.
Sam is smaller than I remember him. I swallow my want down, swallow because my mouth is dry with need, my tongue stuck, I breathe in Sammy, Sammy, Sam. He lifts his hips as I touch him, pushing into my loose fist. I hope I read him right, I hope what he’s saying is: ‘It’s ok Dean.’
Dean looks away and swallows. I hope he knows its ok, we’ll finally make it ok tonite. Then he turns to me, eyes closed, lips soft too full and chapped - Dean kisses me,
And maybe it really will be ok for a little while, between us,
I reach to trace the stubble on Dean’s jaw, follow the line of bristled skin leading to the curve of an ear, slide my hand into the soft spikes of his hair, pull him deeper into the kiss, open more to him, let his mouth, let the wash of want that pulls me off balance leaves my eyes unfocused and me gasping for air, let the desire that makes my body shiver cold, let that all own me,
Sam holds my head in place, with one of his bear paws, the feel of that hand, his hand on me, makes me safe, Sam’s hands telling me safe and home and be here with me,
Sam’s tongue pushes my lips apart, creeps into my mouth, sliding in all my crevices, persistent and strong and curling in me. I close my eyes, bone and muscle, stretched, taut skin, settling in, feeling the heat of Sam, power and bone carrying me. My hands come to his shoulders, slide along his arms - one strong and muscled, one sore and twisted - pull his arms up, rest my fingers on his pulse points. Held down at the wrist, stretched out, Sam’s bad arm twitches, I don’t if its in pain or in the unfamiliarity of movement. Sam makes a noise and I should pull back and check that he isn’t hurting - hurting more - but he is arching up under me, muscled legs wrapped into mine - pulling me down onto him, pushing himself against me: that soft vulnerable part of Sam that I want, and I swallow again to keep my need-need-need down. This is never want. Sam and I have lied too often and I hope, hope that need that lies behind wanting me, hope he means this, we mean this - a new end for us,
Dean holds me down, wrapped in muscle and his strength, legs tangled into mine, him - something that shouldn’t be good, shouldn’t be right, but is - hard and hanging down touching on the vulnerable skin of my belly. Dean drags his lower lip against the skin of my neck, closes his mouth over my pulse, a line of his tongue as he tastes me followed by soft kisses. Dean breathes along the new lines on my face, drags his fingers through my hairline where it is creeping back, kisses out my frown lines, his lips on my laugh lines, stubble against my face as he pauses letting me open my lips to him so I can taste him and whiskey and want and I need his breath to stay on mine even as he pulls away and turns his attention to my crippled arm. He runs a thumb into the palm of my useless hand - strange feeling of sand and heat - circling at first, and then extending the fingers one at a time, and there is a jolt of pain at his touch each time he stretches and pulls a joint a new way, unfurling each finger in turn, holding them straight, until my hand is open then he locks his fingers into mine and settles us there,
Sam blinks at my hand stretching his fingers, stiff from time but with no real resistance, into place. It must hurt, but his face doesn’t change, as he watches my hands work he has that tender look that I barely see now, the look that he can have while he sleeps, the quietness he used to have before I brought him back and brought all of this on us,
The only reason I breathe is that Dean is still on my breath, his whiskey, his leather and gun oil, safe, and home and only only this. And he releases me, leaving my arms where they lay, lips traveling on my chest, the lines of my pecks, the bones of my ribs, the hollows of my hips. I can hear his breath shorten, know him well enough that he is only breathing through his nose, short breaths in, punctured by the occasional release, as sets himself in place between my knees. I keep my eyes closed, I want to feel Dean,
Dammit Dean. This? Because now I can’t breathe, his tongue bypasses my cock and licks the edge of me - if it wasn’t a little late I would accuse him of trying to ruin me - the end of Dean’s tongue pushes at my hole and the pull of Dean runs through me - only right, only him, one hand in his hair, my legs open to him, legs reaching around him - Dean one hand holding my cock out the way, the other holding me down - and let him take what I need,
The silk, slick-sticky, taste of fruit, the ‘i hope to hell that Sam keeps himself clean or this is going to be embarrassing’ the rhythmic little creases of skin, sweetness and dust. The taste of him on me, and I feel the need to be in him burning through me, pushing through that rim, the need to be all the way in cutting through my chest, into me, ripping me open, and I close my mouth so I don’t call out as I climb my way back up, I’m too ready, I’m too hard, I want Sam too much,
Given over to him. My throat is tight, hurts from not saying anything. I hold my eyes shut knowing that when I open them I will be looking at Dean, and knowing that he will reflect my fear, and that there is nothing we can do to make us hurt less. We can finish this or not, and that’s all,
Sam’s good hand grabs onto my right arm, over the mark - I feel the muscles around my eyes tighten, I would look away from his face if I could, but all I can read there is quiet empathy, not the lie he gives in public, the thing that he keeps for home, keeps for me dying in his arms, keeps for love, and he rubs his thumb over the mark, twists his enormous hand around my arm, slowly wrings his hand around it, as though with time he could rub it out, it would be gone, hidden under his hand, and I watch his hand on my arm, wishing that losing the damn mark would be as damn easy as loving someone beyond the edge of this fucking world,
The mark is hot under my hand, I trace it with my thumb wonder if carrying the mark feels anything like the demon blood. I let the burn of the mark nearly scorch me, the mark that if it isn’t fulfilled will take Dean back. Dean has no idea I would have stayed lucifer's bitch to take this from him,
Sam leans forward and kisses my arm, the place where the brand sits hot in my skin, and then brings me down again to let our lips meet. He smiles, pushes me up a little, strokes a hand through my hair and his smile falters a little bit, and I realize we probably need lube, and yeah, as a demon I probably stored lube about everywhere so there is some in my coat pocket,
I can barely find air waiting, find air as his fingers first touch where his tongue laid a trail, as he pushes a finger in, tentative, careful, sweet in a way that only I - and maybe Cas - know he is, gasp in air as he opens me up for himself, breathe as he takes what we need, prepared is one thing, and I thought he would kill me with waiting with tenderness, with time, but the feel of Dean, taken, lost to him, given, nothing left to breathe but Dean and the taste of salt mixed in with gun oil,
Sam pulls me further in than I knew I could, would have dared, open to me, legs wrapped around me, his body giving him up, lost, his huge hand on me, his eyes -I still don’t know their color - watching me, as though I am all he ever watched, deep and burnt into him, so close to Sam - his good hand reaching for my face, good thumb rubbing over my face, seeking a hold on my hair, forcing a rhythm, letting me know, letting me take, take him, lost, shuddering under me, tears on his face, I wipe them away, have to wipe away, always - god the smell of his girly-flowers shampoo - fuck, muscles lean and hard, and sliding under me, against me - shaking as I ride against that sweet spot in him - with me, mouth on mine, open, him, Sam, whiskey and candy bars, and dirt and steel and blood,
Sam’s eyes shift from mine for a moment, look unfocused over my shoulder, widen slightly, he hesitates and he comes back clear and quiet, pupils shot open, ready,
Sam’s back arcs up under me, his head falling back, twitches through his jaw and mouth, eyes open to slits: ‘Dean’. He pushes up against me slick with pleasure, breathing my name back in, tongue pushed against his bottom lip. Eyes open and then closed. Then pushing his face against mine, my stubble on his smooth cheek, twisted cords of his neck flexing as we slide into, against, on, each other. ‘Dean’. A small pool forms between us, ‘Dean’.
I shudder into Sam calloused hands on wet skin, the sweet, salt, blood and bone, guns and home scent of us,
We wait. We slow down. Still tangled, resting on my elbows, kissing his forehead, his eyes, his mouth, thumbs running circles over his ears, fingers tracing the lines under his eyes, the curve of his jaw.
Sam puts his hand, his good hand, over my heart.
I love you. (I have brought us to this place.)
I reach over for my colt on the nightstand, I hate myself as my hand takes the grip of my colt, I hate myself as my hand closes over it, begging him to change how this ends, begging him to give us another chance find another way,
I click the safety off. (I love you too.)
Sam watches me, rolls his head a little over as I reach for my colt, his eyes following my hand as I click the safety off. Then Sam looks at me with the perfect trust he had in me when he was six, and I was ten, and he didn’t know better,
Straddling him again, on my knees, left hand splayed across his chest, holding him in place, my right hand settling the barrel under his jaw, breathe in, remind myself to breathe out and to pull the trigger, hand slick on the grip, feeling where the gun rests under his chin, watching his eyes,
Sam’s eyes slip up and away again looking over my shoulder, he takes a stuttered breath, eyes flicker toward me for a moment - please change this Sammy - then settle half-lidded still looking away, Sam’s breath soft, Sam’s mouth slightly open as though he might still tell me to stop, Sam’s hand sliding over mine on the gun, calloused fingers prying mine from the grip, fingers twist in under mine, Sam’s hand setting the barrel firmly under the hinge of his own jaw, setting an angle that will do the job, my hand still over his,
Sam’s eyes nearly closed, mouth soft and pliant, more beautiful than when he stepped into the pit. Sam’s tremor is too much for the shot to be good and I steady his hand. I feel the shift of Sam’s index finger on the trigger, smell cordite and iron, I hear the crack of the shot, the crack of Sam’s bone, feel Sam arc under the impact, see Sam’s blood spilt too quickly for me to do anything, too late, too damn late, still holding his hand on the colt,
“Jesus said: Gather up the fragments that nothing may be lost.” Book of Common Prayer, Eucharist of Remembrance.
Oh god, Sammy, no.
Dean gropes over Sam’s bloody face, two fingers desperately seeking Sam’s pulse, seeking to make this undone, as though he is trying to make this just one more time, as though his hands can clear the film already forming over Sam’s eyes.
I take the gun from Dean before there is a second shot, pull him into my arms even while he is grasping at Sam. I gather Dean, all desperation and resistance, rest his full weight still fighting, gasping air, the shake that travels through all of him, the wet of on his face I try to wipe away bare handed, his bloody sticky hands now clutching at me, now at Sam, the earthy smell of sex and Sam still on him. I find one of hands has made its way over to Sam and is holding his hand and Dean’s gripped together, while Dean still tries to lift Sam to hold Sam’s head on his shoulder.
Sam Winchester deserves this death. Deserves to be done what we want from him. No matter his failings, and admittedly some have been as grave as mine, he deserves peace, and I believe, hope, for Sam he can finally be forgiven. Not many men have defied both heaven and hell, not many men have saved the world and fewer have nearly ended it.
My hands hold and run over Dean, help him lay Sam’s body back down, fetch him warm water and dry cloths to clean Sam off, help him into his own clothes, help him wash Sam’s bloody face, watch Dean tend to Sam, hands attempting to fit the puzzle of Sam’s face together again, comb out Sam’s hair sticky with blood and as unruly as it was in life, Dean tends each arm, fingers so different side to side, cleans the sweat of their lovemaking from his brother, I watch as Dean cleans the small pool of stickiness from Sam’s abdomen, his brother’s private parts touched with hesitation and almost reverence, hands sliding down the back of Sam’s legs, opening Sam’s legs, cleaning the wetness and mess from around Sam’s anus, laying Sam’s unnaturally long legs out in straight lines, the skin of his feet dusted off with warm water. My hands steady Dean’s shaking ones, help him dress Sam in his jeans, pass Dean a t-shirt, my hands find the skin on Dean’s right arm -- smooth again, as though Sam’s mark were never there, as though this had never happened and Sam is laying dead at Cold Oak, as though Dean and Sam hadn’t moved heaven and hell to be together.
Trout again confronted him, saying, “Wake up! Wake up! You’ve got free will again, and there’s work to do!” And so on. -- Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut